Hailsa all,

This year's Ian Stuart Memorial was one we'd been counting the sleeps to. Personally I'd been eying the calendar with just about the same sleepy-eyed nonchalance a pitbull regards the cat that just jumped the fence and started helping itself to the food bowl.

 A bunch of the interstate folk were arriving early so, as usual, we had ourselves a night out at a local hostelry featuring some fine fare from the Fatherland. Some of you might have read the account of said repast in the Herald Sun. Previously I'd actually thought that "The Lord of the Rings" had scaled the heights for the Fantasy genre, but all that article need was a couple more Orcs and some walking trees and faster than you can say "who runs Hollywood?" there'd have been a blockbuster out of it.

The reality was that we plowed through a few tables full of non-kosher grub and did more carousing than platoon of pirates rescued from a desert island.

So it was that with slaked thirsts and sated appetites, we headed back to the oasis that was the, ahh, salubrious accommodation that the clichéd "someone who will remain nameless" had organized for the punters. This motel turned out to be somewhat less than the relaxing resort as portrayed on the internet. (I know; it's a shock, but there's a first time for everything). To paraphrase one of the Queenslanders: Nothing says 'ambiance' like a hand-lettered sign on the neighbouring room that reads: "Staff, could you please clean up all the used syringes from around the back"…

That said, the crackheads gave us a wide berth; it wasn't quite like turning the light on to a kitchen full of cockroaches but it was mildly amusing the way they all fucked off back under the fridge or wherever it is they hide.

Anyway, some scant hours later there was, to coin a phrase, a new dawn to hail. It was gig day and the weather gods couldn't have blessed us with a better one.

The concert started with a renewed and raucous Ravenous, who were on their game like white on rice.

The ominous intro to their set got the old hairs standing on the back of the neck. If you haven't had to pleasure of seeing the boys play, they pump out a powerhouse set and would have to be rated one of the hardest rocking bands in the world-wide RAC scene.

All the classics got a play; "Free", "Pillage and Plunder", etc. as well as some covers, including a little known ditty called "88 Rock'n'Roll Band". I must have heard that song six million times but it always stays fresher than a cattle truck with a new coat of paint.

As usual for gigs it took a little time for the crowd to relax and let their hair (what there was of it) down but the wives and girlfriends of the band (hi J., L. and F.!) showed no such reticence. Absolutely nothing to do with a couple of sneaky pre-gig aperitifs, I'm sure, haha…

The lads have a stage presence that'd be envied by many another band; Deaths Head Jesse only needed to be signing nekkid groupie boobies to enhance his rawk god status; HotRod had a little Charlie Watts aloofness going but might just have been 'cos he couldn't read the song list in front of him, and Fozzy's dulcet tones would have given the neighbours nightmares. That bloke must have the lung capacity of a silverback.

Ravenous' fill-in drummer, despite looking like a fella in desperate need of a double-decker sandwich, beat those skins like you would a red-headed step-child. I guess if you had to use one word to sum up Ravenous live, that word would be "brutal"…

That brings us to the infamous, nay, notorious; Open Season. I don't know what I can say about this band that the Reds haven't already said better, haha. They're aggressive, offensive, as politically-incorrect as it's possible for a band to be and the punters couldn't seem to get enough of it.

It had been about twenty years since I'd seen them last and for most folks that would be a blessing, haha. But, being a sucker for the odd "Sieg Heil" or twenty, I was planning on being right up the front for this and copping the full aural assault.

There'd been the odd bit of friendly banter about how the guys going to remember the words what with all the incipient Alzheimer's on the stage, but the fellas proved they weren't there just for their looks (cough); and with no social niceties they hooked straight in like a Jap whaler's harpoon and blasted though a vicious, hate and pride-filled set that was bigger than Moby Dick and tastier than dolphin sushi…

As before, I'm not going to bore you gentle readers with a lengthy song list, but it seems the lads have, after a twenty year hiatus and with copious inspiration from the malevolent muse of White Power music, knocked up a batch of new tunes that The Wiggles are still dubious about including on their next dvd.

It's safe to say that whilst Open Season are now musically tighter than the proverbial; the only thing scarcer than a modeling contract for the boys would be an award from the Diversity Council of Australia. The lyrical content of the new songs remains strong enough to scorch any semblance of leftie sensibilities from even the most jaded of listeners.

Anyway, I digress, but personally it brought back some great memories seeing them belt out some of their older classics: "Nightrider", "Ape-man" and the best song Elton John never sung and the tune that was voted Worst Song of the Year by makers of over-stuffed footstools: "Kill The Poofs".

For the younger readers out there who may not know, Open Season released those songs in the late '80s and they were, at the time, just about the most blatantly racist and offensive songs a shekel could buy and lead to the band achieving near-legendary status in places like Germany.
 
Places where catching the same bus as someone whose second cousin's gardener had once, by torchlight, glimpsed the cover of the album, was enough to get you a serious stretch at the Chancellor's pleasure.

Put simply, Frontline Fighters was one of the worst recorded and mixed albums in RAC history, but each song is an absolute gem in its own right. Why that album never made the Tel Aviv Top 40 remains a question for the ages.

This, belatedly, brings us the conclusion to the evening; those consummate communist crushers; aka: The Commieknockers. If you've never heard of these guys then you must have been living under, err, are not alone. They're a cover band who belt out enough pro-White and skinhead classics to give an anarchist angina. (Coincidently, angina is a word remarkably similar to another which describes anarchists of both genders quite succinctly).

Straight up; it was the perfect way to top off a superlative night. The Commieknockers did more hits than a junkie with a winning lottery ticket. "Hail The New Dawn", "ACAB", "Commie Scum" and "Smash The IRA" are about the only ones my *cough* exceedingly sober memory at the time can recall. But with just about the entire (and of course, equally sober) audience singing along, various guest vocalists and *cough again* one overly-tattooed drunken fool getting up and grabbing a mic; the night ended on a raft of camaraderie, good-will and grins bigger than Greenland.

All up it was nigh on perfect night, it ran like an orange, i.e. clockwork, the only Triumph of the Bill was the band list and there was a plethora of new folk who made the effort to turn up.

In the meantime, if you're hankering after some more B&H action, check out Radio 28 Downunder: Speaking of which, Scuba Steve asked me to tell folks that there is absolutely no truth to the rumour that the long-suffering Mum of 28 Australia's very own radio superstar, Moonbeam, was congratulated by the obstetrician for giving birth to a beautiful, bouncing grumpy old man.

One final thing to mention is that there's whispers that Open Season will be doing a second full-length release, I know I'll be buying my copy at (shameless plug) 9% Productions
which, as you all no doubt already know, is Australia's own entirely non-profit distro where every cent goes back into the movement.

Anyway, back to the ISD gig: Thanks go to all the interstaters; the SA, QLD and WA crews, the many new faces and especially those from NSW, Tassie and Germany.

Much gratitude, as ever, goes to the Southern Cross Hammerskins, their Prospects, Crew 38 and affiliates, not only for co-presenting the ISD gig but for all the associated hard work; setting the venue up, manning the door, bar and merch tables all night and also playing in the bands.

828

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